Arthur C. Clokey, the creator of Gumby, brought a lot of happiness to a lot of children. His legacy lives on with many Gumby products still available for sale today. Sadly his childhood wasn’t as happy as many of those he entertained. Art died peacefully in his sleep the morning of the 8th of January at the age of 88.
After the Gumby series, Art Clokey went on to create the Christian animation series, Davey and Goliath. The Lutheran Church and Art Clokey teamed up to make the first Davey and Goliath episode in 1960 called “Lost In A Cave”. In 2004 Art Clokey’s son, Joe, produced a new episode, “Davey and Goliath’s Snowboard Christmas.”
I loved my Gumby toy when I was a child and I still have a Gumby on my desk at work. Gumby is a reminder of a happy childhood. I didn’t know the truth behind the childhood of his creator until today.
When Clokey was 9 years old, his parents divorced and he stayed with his father. After his father died in a car accident, he went to live with his mother in California, but was placed in a half-way house orphanage after one year because his stepfather did not want him around. At age 12, he was adopted by Joseph W. Clokey, a classical music composer and organist who taught music at Pomona College in Claremont, California, and who encouraged young Arthur’s artistic inclinations. The aesthetic environment later became the home of Art Clokey’s most famous character, Gumby, whose name derives from Art Clokey’s childhood experiences during summer visits to his grandfather’s farm, when he enjoyed playing with the clayey mud called “gumbo.” – Wiki
What a sad start to life for Clokey but what an amazing turn around.
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